Weekly Feature

2013-12-04 / Business

Kenmore Mercy provides free joint replacement surgery to uninsured patients

Kenmore Mercy Hospital, along with Dr. John Repicci, recently partnered with Operation Walk USA to provide two uninsured patients with free joint replacement surgery.

Marcia O’Connor, 53, of Lyndonville, N.Y., and Melvin Bluhm, 56, of Orchard Park, were both chosen as the recipients of Operation Walk USA’s surgeries at Kenmore Mercy, the only hospital in Western New York to participate in the initiative.

An orthopedic surgeon, Repicci, who is the hospital’s former chief of orthopedic surgery, initially heard about Operation Walk USA through a number of professional outlets and realized it was a way he could help those in need.

“Regardless of circumstances, people in need should have relief from debilitating joint conditions and receive a new lease on life,” said Repicci. “This is the essence of Operation Walk USA.”

Melvin’s Bluhm’s mother, Genie Bluhm, describes the Operation Walk USA initiative as “divine intervention.”

She said, “I had prayed for so long for his pain to be gone. And along came this miracle.”

Arthritic disease is the most common cause of disability in the United States, affecting approximately 48 million Americans, or more than 21 percent of the adult population. The debilitating pain of end-stage hip or knee degenerative disease often makes working or completing even the simplest of tasks excruciatingly painful or impossible.

Hip and knee replacement surgeries are the most cost-effective and successful of all orthopedic procedures, eliminating pain and allowing patients to resume active, productive lives, according to the hospital.

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